Home > Top 20 Online Master’s in Health Informatics Programs for 2017

Top 20 Online Master’s in Health Informatics Programs for 2017

If you are passionate about information technology and its role in healthcare, an online master’s in health informatics prepares you for a growing and lucrative career. As healthcare institutions adapt to a rapidly aging population, higher enrollment rates, and changing technologies, the demand for information specialists will continue to rise.

As a recent report by the American Health Information Management Association found, health information professionals with a master’s degree experience increased salaries, lowered unemployment rates, and greater opportunity to administrative roles than those holding only a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree can also provide the competitive edge you need to land a high-paying and satisfying job.

WHAT IS HEALTH INFORMATICS?

From research data to patient records and billing, effective information systems are central to proper functioning healthcare institutions. Professionals in health informatics integrate central concepts from information technology and healthcare, with the goal of leveraging cutting-edge technology to obtain, categorize, store, and assess medical records.

Health informatics practitioners often specialize in specific aspects of information systems, such as coding or systems administration. Other areas of specialization are available for nurses or medical professionals who hope to train and lead healthcare providers to adopt new technologies. Healthcare administrators will rely on the expertise of health informatics specialists to ethically and legally implement new information systems. Opportunities for employment are abundant, and the diverse curriculum of an online master’s in health informatics allows learners to tailor the degree for specific careers.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN HEALTH INFORMATICS?

1

Northwestern UniversityEvanston, Illinois

Founded in 1851 and set on a 240-acre campus in Evanston, IL, Northwestern University is one of the nation's leading private research institutions. To meet the growing demand for courses that accommodate nontraditional students, Northwestern created several evening and online programs. The MS in health informatics (MHI) is a fully online master's degree with the flexibility to study during hours that best suit students. The online master's in health informatics introduces new industry technologies, tools, and data to improve healthcare delivery services.

The program is comprised of 12 courses, including a hands-on capstone project to be completed independently or within Northwestern University's School of Medicine. Additionally, three program specializations are available in clinical informatics, health administration informatics, and health technology informatics. The clinical informatics specialization allows for a designated medical certification in medical informatics. The academic year at Northwestern is on the quarter system, and features flexible start date options for students. Admission requirements vary, but test scores may be required for students with a GPA less than 3.0.

2

Brandeis UniversityWaltham, Massachusetts

Established in 1948 as a private, nonsectarian research university, Brandeis University welcomes students from all backgrounds. While most of its students call the 235-acre campus in Boston, MA home, a significant portion of the full-time student population at Brandeis is comprised of online graduate students. The online MS in health and medical informatics provides working professionals the chance to study without altering their work or life commitments.

The 30-credit MS in health informatics online is delivered asynchronously while still retaining seminar-style classes and interactive instruction. The online classes boast an average size of 12 students, and students can take up to five years to complete a program -- though graduate programs are typically completed in less time. Students can take up to two courses before applying to the program, or immediately apply for either a fall or spring start.

3

The College of Saint ScholasticaDuluth, Minnesota

Since 1912, students have studied on the 186-acre Duluth, MN campus of the College of St. Scholastica (CSS). CSS is recognized for its development of programs throughout the state to accommodate working professionals and nontraditional students. Their online graduate programs, such as the MS in health informatics, are delivered fully online and asynchronously so that students can maintain a healthy work and study balance.

This 42-credit master's in health informatics online program benefits from the school’s extensive history of offering the degree. Students are required to complete a statistics course and maintain a 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate degree. During the final semester of study, students may qualify to sit for the Certified Professional in Health Informatics (CPHI) credential. Additionally, up to six completed graduate credits with a minimum 3.0 GPA are eligible for transfer.

4

Regis UniversityDenver, Colorado

Situated in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Denver, CO, Regis University has provided a Jesuit Catholic education since 1877. Today, with four campuses throughout the state and robust online programs, Regis is available to students from all over the world. The MS in health care informatics and information management is a 36-credit master's degree delivered asynchronously to optimize student flexibility. With three start dates per year -- and the opportunity to take six classes during each eight-week term -- students can complete the online master's in health informatics in less than 24 months. The program culminates with an experiential capstone project for students to demonstrate their learning. While there are no prerequisite courses for applicants, there is a minimum 3.0 GPA admission requirement. Two to three years of healthcare management experience is also strongly encouraged.

5

University of Central FloridaOrlando, Florida

Founded in 1963, the University of Central Florida (UCF) has grown considerably. Today, UCF is made up of 13 colleges across three campuses and 10 regional locations. The university serves more than 66,000 students, including 8,000 graduate students. UCF also boasts an online campus offering more than 60 online degrees, including the master's degree in health care informatics. Students in this 38-credit program progress as a cohort, taking courses in a specific order. Each student also completes a capstone project and an internship.

The master's in health informatics online degree prepares students for the Health Information Administration Graduate Certificate program, a certificate necessary for those who wish to take the Registered Healthcare Information Administrator (RHIA) certification examination. Though there are no course prerequisites, applicants must meet the 3.0 GPA admission requirement. UCF allows students to transfer up to nine credits.

6

Drexel UniversityPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

Drexel University, in the heart of Philadelphia, PA, has been educating students for over 125 years. Since 1996, the school has become well-known for its online programs, and Drexel University Online now offers more than 140 accelerated degree and certificate programs. The fully online programs are available in full-time and part-time formats, and the four 10-week quarters allow for flexible start dates. Class structures and schedules vary depending on the course.

The 45-credit MS in health informatics features asynchronous course delivery, though some courses require real-time or live class participation. Entry into the health informatics master's degree online requires a four-year bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Drexel allows transfer credits up to a maximum of 15 graduate credits.

7

Stanford UniversityStanford, California

Founded in 1891, Stanford University is one of the world's most famous institutions. Stanford is home to more than 16,000 students, and its combination of rich history and close proximity to Silicon Valley have made it one of the most desirable schools in the world. Stanford offers more than 90 graduate fields of study with many available online. The MS in biomedical informatics (BMI) is a part-time online program that lets working professionals earn a superb education.

The BMI degree offers classes in biomedical informatics, and social and ethical issues. The 45-credit, fully online program is only available part-time, and learners must maintain full-time employment and a minimum 3.0 GPA throughout the program. Most students take an average of three to five years to graduate. Due to the challenging nature of the program, prerequisites include calculus, computer science, statistics, linear algebra, and biology.

8

Nova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale, Florida

With more than 21,000 students across 11 campuses throughout Florida and Puerto Rico -- including a 314-acre main campus in Fort Lauderdale, FL -- Nova Southeastern University is the second largest private and nonprofit university in the Southeast. To accommodate working professionals, many of Nova Southeastern's graduate programs are available online.

The 43-credit MS in biomedical informatics blends synchronous and asynchronous elements to create the best learning environment. Applicants require a minimum 3.0 GPA, and those with a degree in a health profession are given priority. Computer experience is also strongly recommended. A maximum of 12 credit hours from another master's degree program with a B-grade or better may be transferable.

9

East Carolina UniversityGreenville, North Carolina

Located in Greenville, NC, East Carolina University (ECU) is home to nearly 29,000 students. With over 75 master's degree programs to choose from -- including on-campus, online, and hybrid graduate program options -- ECU's graduate school attracts working professionals from all over the country. The MS in health informatics and information management gives learners the choice of how and where to study.

The 48-credit health informatics master's online program can be completed in two years of full-time study, or part-time in three to six years. In addition to core courses, the health informatics and information management degree offers a thesis, a non-thesis, and a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) track. The RHIA track prepares graduates to sit for the RHIA exam. Prerequisites for admissions include courses in computer programming and statistics, and a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Applicants should also be familiar with the JAVA programming language.

10

University of South FloridaTampa, Florida

The University of South Florida (USF) is a public research university located in Tampa, FL. With approximately 50,000 students -- including more than 10,000 at the graduate level -- USF is one of the leading graduate schools in the state. The USF medical school hosts the MS in health informatics, a fully online master's degree well-suited for working professionals.

In this 32-credit program, students develop core health informatics programs, as well as more advanced e-medicine programs. Graduates also consider and evaluate ethical issues in healthcare. With six start dates per year, asynchronous courses, and eight-week class terms, USF's health informatics program can be completed in two years. Applicants require a 3.0 GPA overall -- and in the sciences -- from their undergraduate degree.

11

Misericordia UniversityDallas, Pennsylvania

Founded in 1924, Misericordia University is a Catholic university located in northeast Pennsylvania. Over the last 90 years, the school has been dedicated to helping adult students continue their education, and that tradition continues today. The master's in health informatics is a 36-credit online program that addresses the growing technical demands of the ever-changing healthcare industry. Online courses run asynchronously, and the degree offers a professional and a thesis track. Each class runs for seven and a half weeks, maintains a student-to-faculty ratio of 12 to one, and comprises less than 18 students. Applicants are admitted on a rolling deadline throughout the year.

12

University of South Carolina-ColumbiaColumbia, South Carolina

Established in 1801 in Columbia, SC, the University of South Carolina's 200 year history makes it one of the oldest universities in the United States. The school offers five online master's degrees, including the master's in health information technology.

This online degree in health informatics is delivered in an accelerated format, which allows distance learners to graduate in 18 to 24 months. Students in the 36-credit online master's program learn to use advancing technologies to improve and transform the healthcare industry. Most classes run for eight weeks and all courses online are currently delivered asynchronously. While there are no demands for prerequisite courses, applicants require a 3.0 GPA from their undergraduate degree.

13

Loyola University ChicagoChicago, Illinois

Loyola University Chicago (LUC) is one of largest Jesuit, Catholic universities in the United States. With five locations in Chicago, three international locations, and online programs, Loyola attracts students from all over the world. LUC first offered online degrees in 1998; today, Loyola Online hosts 21 graduate degrees, including the MSN in health systems management.

Delivered via the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the health systems management degree consists of 38-41 credits, with specialties available in outcomes performance management or healthcare informatics. Both specialties require a practicum at the end of the program, and which require 2,000 hours of clinical nursing experience upon starting. A minimum 3.0 GPA in a nursing degree and a current nursing license issued by a U.S. state are required for admission.

14

The University of FindlayFindlay, Ohio

The University of Findlay's 75-acre main campus in Findlay, OH is home to more than 1,250 of the 4,100 students enrolled at the school. Findlay also boasts several off-campus locations and an online education system. Of the 10 master's degrees available at Findlay, four are available online, including the MS in health informatics. This 33-credit program can be completed in two years, and features eight-week terms with both synchronous and asynchronous courses. Distance learners can take advantage of AHIMA Virtual Lab software for online practical skill building, while an internship concludes the program. Prerequisites for the program include courses in medical terminology, introduction to computers, anatomy and physiology, and database applications. A bachelor's degree in healthcare or computer science is also recommended.

15

Adelphi UniversityGarden City, New York

With its main campus located in Garden City, NY, Adelphi University is the oldest private coeducational university on Long Island. Today, the university offers seven degrees fully online with no on-campus requirements. The 39-credit MS in healthcare informatics provides students the chance to work with the second largest health system in the United States. Adelphi's nursing school also has more than 70 years of experience delivering nursing education. The program is open to both healthcare professionals and IT professionals; a minimum 2.75 GPA and prerequisite courses in statistical methods and mathematics for managers are required. The entire master's degree can be completed between 28 months and five years.

16

Michigan Technological UniversityHoughton, Michigan

With over 130 years of history and more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to choose from, Michigan Technological University has something for just about everyone. To accommodate distance learners, Michigan Tech offers online programs, including the MS in medical informatics. Open to domestic students only, the program is fully online and asynchronous, though some classes may feature live streaming and synchronous delivery. The 30-credit MHI online is also available in an accelerated format for quicker completion. The medical informatics program offers three tracks: course work, thesis, and a report option. Applicants are admitted on a rolling deadline, and both GRE scores and a 3.0 GPA in a bachelor's degree are required for admission.

17

Louisiana Tech UniversityRuston, Louisiana

Louisiana Tech University first opened its doors in 1894 in Ruston, LA. In recent years, the school has expanded its online offerings through its Global Campus. The master's degree in health informatics (HMI) is a 45-credit program designed for working professionals. The coursework in this online master’s degree is delivered asynchronously, and students must have at least two years of work experience in healthcare, IT, or a related field. Additional admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in health information management or a related field, and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Applicants who don't meet these standards may still be eligible on a case-by-case basis. A maximum of 12 graduate transfer credits with a B-grade or above may be transferred in during the application process.

18

University of Illinois at ChicagoChicago, Illinois

In 1982, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) was created by consolidating the medical campus and the Chicago Circle campus of the University of Illinois. UIC continues to grow -- especially at the graduate level -- and the school now delivers nearly 100 master's degree programs. The MS in health informatics is fully online and hosted by UIC's medical school, the largest of its kind in the country. The degree features asynchronous course delivery and no on-campus requirements. The program culminates with a practicum, and graduates are eligible for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam. The 45-credit health informatics master's degree online can be completed in 24 to 30 months, though part-time students may take up to six years. Distance learners choose between the research track or the standard course track. While a background in healthcare or IT is strongly recommended, the only prerequisites are undergraduate courses in medical terminology and fundamentals of health information management.

19

Kent State University at KentKent, Ohio

Kent State University was founded in 1910 as a teacher-training school in Kent, OH. Over the last 100 years, Kent State expanded its offerings to make its programs more accessible. The fully online MS in health informatics provides three start dates a year and each course is only seven weeks long. Classes are delivered asynchronously and synchronously, and distance learners can graduate in two years. The 36-credit health informatics online master's also offers three available tracks: an internship, a master's project, and a thesis. Kent State's standard admission requirement is a minimum 3.0 GPA, but applicants may submit GRE scores if they have a lower GPA. Professional computer science and/or a healthcare background are recommended.

20

Dakota State UniversityMadison, South Dakota

In 1881, Dakota State University (DSU) was founded when South Dakota was not yet recognized as a state. Over the years, DSU has been one of the most technologically advanced schools in the Midwest, and the online MS in health informatics and information management (MSHIIM) leans on this innovation.

This 33-credit health informatics master's online offers full-time and part-time options. Full-time students are eligible to take as many as nine credits per semester and graduate in as little as four semesters. All entrants must complete the degree within five years. Admission requires a minimum GPA of 2.7 and a recent, satisfactory GRE score. Prerequisites include courses or experience in information systems, healthcare information, and applied statistics.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Health Informatics Program

Prospective students should consider several factors while researching the right master’s in health informatics online, including program structure, curriculum, tuition, and accreditation status. Several schools offer unique concentrations and internships, which may require additional credits of study. While most health informatics online master’s take two years to complete, learners should review the average completion times at their prospective schools. Additionally, though many health informatics master’s online programs can be completed remotely, some require hybrid or on-campus participation.

If you are interested in specific certifications, review the curriculum and accreditation specifics of each MHI online; your prospective school should be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. Finally, contact each school to speak with an admissions advisor for more information. As an applicant, choosing the right school means exploring which program meets your personal and professional needs.

Careers for Graduates of this Program

Depending on your specialization and work experience, earning a M.S. in health informatics online prepares you for a diversity of career paths. These positions requires you to leverage the technical knowledge, leadership skills, and problem-solving techniques developed during your studies. Geographical location and institutional needs impact available careers, but some of the most common trajectories include careers as health information specialists, clinical informatics managers, health information managers, informatics nurses, and information technology project managers.

Job Outlook and Salary

After completing a health informatics master’s degree online, graduates face a bright future with exceptional opportunities to advance in the field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment is projected to grow 15% between 2014 and 2024 for healthcare information technicians, much higher than the average for all occupations. Emerging technology, an aging population, and constant changes in healthcare practices all contribute to this rapid growth in health informatics. Job seekers with a master’s degree hold an additional advantage, and find work in well-paying entry level and managerial roles.

Employment Growth for Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
188,600 217,600

Source: BLS

SALARY GROWTH BY EXPERIENCE

Health informatics professionals experience positive salary growth over time. With more experience, the potential to earn more money increases. The following chart depicts reported salaries for several careers in health informatics, and shows how projected earnings grow at different stages. Beginning with your entry into health informatics, you will find a lucrative career that lasts a lifetime.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Joining a professional organization is essential for success in the field of health informatics. Whether you are looking for additional professional certifications, continuing education opportunities, or simply want to network with professionals in your field, professional organizations exist to support you. The following organizations assist practitioners in health informatics and medical information management systems.

American Medical Informatics Association

AMIA is a professional, scientific organization for professionals and students in healthcare informatics. They offer research, continuing education, certifications, and opportunities for networking in the profession.

American Health Information Management Association

The AHIMA provides research and continuing education for health information managers. Comprehensive online certifications and professional activities are available for all members.

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society

The HIMSS offers healthcare information systems professionals with opportunities to network, advance research, and collaboratively explore new technologies available in the market.

American Nursing Informatics Associatio

The ANIA connects nurse informatics specialists to the latest advancements in technology, medical practices, and professional development opportunities. ANIA focuses on the unique challenges of integrating nursing science with information technology.


To determine the best online master’s in health informatics programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in health informatics programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.